Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

New Human Rights Sheriff on the State Department Block?

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

New Human Rights Sheriff on the State Department Block?

Article excerpt

New Human Rights Sheriff on the State Department Block?

Is there a new sheriff on human rights at the Department of State? One official, who shall remain unnamed, recently remarked that the Bush/Powell team has signaled that Israel will not get off as lightly on human rights violations as it did in the Clinton administration.

True, the Department of State Annual Human Rights Report, released in February, describes Israel's overall human rights record in the occupied territories as "poor."

According to The New York Times, "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, had time to review the findings and in a few sensitive chapters, particularly on Israel, to alter some wording, Bush administration officials said."

This was, no doubt, in response to official Israeli attempts to modify or at least delay release of the report.

The media listed Israel in the same breath as China and Colombia as the three major human rights violators. The administration announced immediately that the U.S. would seek a resolution at the United Nations condemning China's record on human rights. Needless to say, however, no parallel action is contemplated regarding Israel's violations, even though the State Department report enumerates them in great detail.

While the report's section on Colombia suggests a direct link between violations by Colombian security forces and U.S. support of the "war on drugs," again, there was no similar acknowledgment of the linkage between Israeli human rights abuses and Washington's provision of money and materials in support of the Jewish state.

Israeli violations are not limited to the West Bank and Gaza. The report includes an account of the police killing of 13 Palestinian Israeli citizens and the injury of 300 others in an October demonstration in Nazareth. It describes the attack on and destruction of Palestinian-Israeli homes by 1,000 Jewish Israelis, and states that the police arrived late and took no action beyond firing at the Palestinian citizens whose homes were being demolished. …

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